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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Board has is responsible for Corporate Governance which reflects the manner in which we conduct our business.

The Corporation has a skills-based Board (including the Managing Director) appointed by the Minister for Water. The members bring to the Board, a strong mix of business, finance, environmental, agricultural, science, communications, engagement and management skills.

Stephen Brown - Chair

Stephen Brown was appointed Chair of North East Water on October 1, 2023. He has been a Director of North East Water since October 2015 and was Deputy Board Chair from June 2019.

Mr Brown is the Head of Government Services at Rural Bank and has held senior executive positions in the banking and finance industry with KPMG, ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, RSD Chartered Accountants and Rural Finance Corporation.

He has held various other governance roles and is currently a Director of Vision Super and an independent member of the City of Greater Bendigo Audit Committee.

Mr Brown is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting). He is also a registered Company Auditor, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Rosemary Bissett

Rosemary Bissett was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2015.

Ms Bissett is the Head of ESG Risk Management at National Australia Bank. She is a Director and Chair of the Risk Committee at Sustainable Business Australia. She is also a member of a number of advisory boards and committees, including the Steering Committee of the Australian Business and Biodiversity Initiative and the University of Melbourne Sport Advisory Board.

Ms Bissett has a Master of Business Administration, Master of Applied Science (Analytical Chemistry), Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education and Bachelor of Education, as well as being a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

At North East Water she is Chair of the Board's Opportunity and Risk Committee and a member of the People and Culture and Transformation and Major Projects Committees.

Angela Verde

Angela Verde was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2019.

Ms Verde has extensive executive level leadership experience within state government and the not for profit sector and is a former Regional Director of Regional Development Victoria in the Hume region.

She has worked in clinical, research, management, policy and governance roles and is currently a Non-Executive Director on the Albury Wodonga Health Board and Deputy Chair on the Goulburn Ovens TAFE Board, having served on the Board from 2016-2022. Angela has also run her own consultancy business since 2016 and her Board roles have included membership of sub-committees responsible for audit and risk, remuneration and succession, people and safety, finance, governance and quality.

Ms Verde holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Diploma of Business Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

At North East Water she is Chair of the Board’s People and Culture Committee and a member of the Transformation and Major Projects and Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Victoria Schmidt

Victoria Schmidt was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2019.

Ms Schmidt is a management consultant specialising in technology and transformation projects, corporate services and customer engagement.

She has held previous board positions in the banking, public health and early childhood sectors and holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a GAICD qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

At North East Water she is a member of the Board’s Audit and Finance, Transformation and Major Projects and the Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2021.

Mr Green is a current Board Director of Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Board Chair of Albury Wodonga Health and former Board Chair, fromn2018 to 2021, of Northeast Health Wangaratta.

He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, currently practising in the North East and Border regions, with a focus on commercial and property matters. He holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

At North East Water, Mr Green is a member of the Board's People and Culture, Transformation and Major Projects and Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Leanne Mulcahy

Leanne Mulcahy was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2021.

Ms Mulcahy is an experienced Non-Executive Director who has served in senior leadership roles across local government and not-for-profit organisations for more than 20 years.

In 2021, she graduated with a Master of Laws, Enterprise Governance from Bond University. She has also completed a Master of Business Administration through RMIT and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

She chairs the Victorian Local Governance Association’s Governance and Risk Committee, co-chairs the Women in Water Directors' Network, is a member of AICD's Local Advisory Committee and, in 2021, completed a four-year term as Chair of the North East Catchment Management Authority.

In 2019, Ms Mulcahy was awarded a Victorian Rural Women's Network Scholarship. She is a graduate of the Goulburn Murray Leadership Program and also the Local Government Professionals Executive Leadership Program.

Ms Mulcahy currently operates a consultancy as a nationally-accredited mediator providing conflict resolution and governance services.

She is a member of the Board's Audit and Finance, Transformation and Major Projects and the Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Cris Topfner-Rigby

Cris Topfner-Rigby was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2021.

Ms Topfner-Rigby has held senior executive roles at Coles, Coles Financial Services/Wesfarmers, Winc and Origin Energy, as well as positions in military research and software agencies in Australia and overseas. She is also a former refugee and migrant who is passionate about making a positive and sustainable social impact.

She was an Independent Board member of the Australian Red Cross, member of the Risk and Audit Committee, Chair of the Technology and Cyber Subcommittee, as well as a member of the Risk Committee for Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.

She has a Bachelor of Computer Sciences and Mathematics, a Master in Computer Sciences, is a Graduate of the Mt Eliza Business School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a certified Agile Professional.

Ms Topfner-Rigby is a member of the Board's Audit and Finance, Transformation and Major Projects and the Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Johnny Murray

Johnny Murray was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2023. He was previously appointed an independent Aboriginal Delegate to North East Water’s Board of directors in July 2022 for a 12-month period.

Mr Murray is a proud Duduroa and Yorta Yorta man and former Koorie Liaison Officer at Wodonga Institute of TAFE. He has extensive experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country and has held positions with Boys to the Bush, Sunshine Coast University, Albury City Council, and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
 
Mr Murray holds an Advanced Diploma in Community Service Sector Management, Diploma in Community Service and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Jennifer Fraser

Jennifer Fraser was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2023.

She brings to the role significant Board, public administration, planning, water and catchments experience and was a Victorian Environmental Water Holder Commissioner from 2019 until 30 September, 2023.

Ms Fraser is a Member of the Marine and Coastal Council and since 2013 has consulted for EarthEon Pty Limited on strategic water policy, planning and management issues.

She was was a Director of East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority from 2015 to 2021 and formerly a Planning Panels Victoria Sessional Member and Council Member and then Chair of Medley Hall at the University of Melbourne.

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Jo Murdoch - Managing Director

With more than 20 years’ experience across the water and local government sectors, Jo Murdoch's leadership helps organisations deliver real and tangible benefits for their communities, supporting the health and prosperity of the regions they serve.

Prior to joining North East Water, Ms Murdoch was General Manager Customers and Community at Barwon Water, Victoria's largest regional urban water corporation, where she was responsible for critical strategic and service functions. Prior to this, Jo had senior leader roles with Yarra City, Kingston and Whitehorse councils.

Ms Murdoch holds a Master of Business Administration, a Graduate Certificate in International and Community Development, is IAP2 certified and an AICD member. She is also an accredited Evolve Communities Ally and was recognised in the Institute of Public Administration Australia's Top 50 Public Sector Women Awards for 2022 for her leadership commitment and contribution during the Covid-19 crisis.

She is a member of the Board's Audit and Finance, People and Culture, Transformation and Major Projects, and Opportunity and Risk Committees.

Related links

Board Agendas